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Greek Glory at English Masters
The Greek beach volleyball pair of Vassiliki Arvaniti and Vassiliki Karadassiou became the first team to win a Nestea European Championship Tour English Masters title when they beat Finnish twins Erika and Emilia Nystrom in Blackpool this afternoon (Sunday).
photos Andrew Beckett
The 2007 Nestea European Championship Final winners needed three sets to beat the Finns, but eventually ran out 21-13, 18-21, 15-11 winners in a thrilling climax to the women’s competition at the first English Masters.
The Greeks took control of the opening set by winning eight points in a row to put them 15-9 up – and then went to wrap up the set 21-13.
But the Finnish twins showed their determination and strength of character to tie the match by winning the second set by three points.
The two teams served up anoter treat in the deciding set, which was neck and neck until the Greeks opened up a three point lead at 11-8 courtesy of Arvanity’s powerful serves and Karadassiou’s outstanding blocking at the net. And it was Karadassiou who wrapped the title up with a powerful smash to take the score to 15-11 in the decider.
Afterwards Karadassiou said she was particularly pleased to win the title after struggling with a cold that she arrived in Blackpool with.
“We arrived not knowing if we were going to play or quit, we took it game by game,” she said. “I’m so happy now. We haven’t played good games in the last month, including at the Olympics, so we wanted to do well here.
“We shouldn’t have let it to go the third set after such a great performance in the first,” she added. “We concentrated our minds in the middle of the third set to get the win.”
Arvanity said: “We’re very happy to win the gold medal. It was a good game and we played well today after the first set.”
Emilia Nystrom said: “We played well today, but they were better. We knew they would be good. We’re happy, even if we would have preferred to win.”
It was a good day for the Greeks, with another Greek pair, Efthalia Koutroumanidou and Maria Tsiartsiana taking the bronze medal. They beat Latvia’s Inese Jursone & Inguna Minusa 21-9, 21-16.
The Latvians were barely in the opening set. At one point the Greeks were 19-6 up and they then had 13 set points before sealing the set 21-9.
The Latvians put up a better showing in the second set, tying at 7-7 before the Greeks wrapped up the second set 21-16, when Koutroumanidou’s smash was too hot for Jursone to handle.
Afterwards Koutroumanidou said: “We know they’re a good team, so we were prepared to play out best. We wanted a medal so much. We kept our game at a high level, but I didn’t think it would be that easy.”
Tsiartsiana added: “It was important to end the tournament with a win. It’s always good to get a medal, even if it’s a bronze. We’re happy with that.”
Final: Vassiliki Arvaniti & Vasso Karadassiou (GRE) beat Emilia Nystrom & Erika Nystrom (FIN) 21-13, 18-21, 15-11
Bronze medal match: Efthalia Koutroumanidou & Maria Tsiartsiana (GRE) beat Inese Jursone & Inguna Minusa (LAT) 21-9, 21-16.
14. March 207
photo Cheltenham jockey club
14. March 238
photo Cheltenham Racecourse